Perseverance and Commitment Win Over “Fear of a New Adventure”
Brenda Glass remembers the feeling of uncertainty as she set foot on a Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) campus for the first time, more than a decade ago.
“I was a non-traditional student, enrolling at age 51, and very much afraid of the adventure,” she said.
Glass was seeking a new career after her former employer, a paper mill company, shut its doors. She knew she was interested in helping others, and decided to explore a career in social work. Soon after, she discovered the Human Services program at Tri-C and decided to enroll.
Her feeling of uncertainty quickly faded as she gained confidence.
“The courses were challenging, but the instructors were knowledgeable, wise and able to help me adjust to meeting the challenge,” she said.
During her time at Tri-C, Glass wrote a proposal for a program that would provide mental health, case management, and safe shelter for youths with nowhere to go after aging out of foster care. Through the efforts of Allen Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, her proposal became a reality.
After graduating cum laude from Tri-C in 2008 with an associate degree in Applied Science, Glass attended Ursuline College, earning a bachelor’s degree in social work in 2012. At Ursuline, she was inducted into Phi Alpha, the national honor society for social work students.
The following fall, Glass was accepted to Case Western Reserve University’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, where she earned a master’s degree in their Advanced Standing program with a concentration in adult mental health.
Glass is now the director of trauma and case management at the Trauma Recovery Center at Circle Health Services. She created and implemented a trauma recovery program for individuals and families who have experienced violent crime and are less likely to seek help due to being ineligible for traditional services. The program, launched in 2017, is funded by the Ohio Attorney General’s Crime Victim Services.
“We are the only program in the country that has comprehensive services under one roof for crime survivors,” Glass said. “We reach out to victims, get them to a safe place and give assistance to help them begin a new life in a real way. Victims are often more ready to get mental health services when their basic needs are met.”
In addition to her job, Glass is active in community organizations impacting Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Ashtabula, Lorain and Medina counties. She is also on the steering committee for the National Association of Trauma Centers and a member of the Cleveland chapter of the Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice.
Glass is proof that not only is a career change possible later in life, it can lead to success and fulfillment. She is grateful to Tri-C for starting her on a new path.
“Attending Tri-C was the most rewarding experience I had at that time,” she said. “My education at Tri-C prepared me to study for my bachelor and master’s degrees. The Tri-C Human Services program set me up for future success.”